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Judge Belvin Perry to rule on Casey Anthony probation after research

Casey Anthony, left, speaks to her attorney, Dorothy Clay Sims, before her sentencing hearing, on charges of lying to a law enforcement officer at the Orange County Courthouse Orlando, Fla.,Thursday, July 7, 2011. Anthony was acquitted of killing her daughter, Caylee.
Pool,AP Photo/Joe Burbank
Casey Anthony release
Casey Anthony, left, speaks to her attorney, Dorothy Clay Sims, before her sentencing hearing, on charges of lying to a law enforcement officer at the Orange County Courthouse Orlando, Fla.,Thursday, July 7, 2011.
Pool,AP Photo/Joe Burbank

(CBS/WKMG) ORLANDO, Fla. -- Judge Belvin Perry withheld ruling on whether Casey Anthony should be required to adhere to an order to return to Orange County to serve probation for check fraud on Friday.  Another judge, Judge Stan Strickland, sentenced Anthony to one year probation in January 2010 for using checks stolen from a friend. 

Pictures: Casey and Caylee Anthony, personal photos

Strickland issued the order on Monday for Anthony to return to serve one year probation from a check fraud conviction in January 2010. Strickland recused himself from Anthony's case last year, and Perry took over for her murder trial.

Perry said he needed to do more research, and that he is also aware of safety concerns for Anthony, reports CBS affiliate WKMG.

"There are no clear-cut answers in this case. It's a mess," said Perry.

Department of Corrections Probation Supervisor Susan Finnegan was the first witness called by the defense during the hearing on motions filed by the defense to throw out Strickland's order.

When questioned by defense attorney Jose Baez, she said the DOC sent a probation officer to see Anthony in the Orange County Jail and establish the terms of her probation in January 2010.

Finnegan said the DOC verified that Anthony was still in the jail every month for the duration of her probation and stated that  Anthony did not commit any criminal offenses while on probation.

According to Finnegan, the DOC checked on Anthony one last time in Dec. 2010, before terminating her probation in Jan. 2011.

Prosecutor Frank George questioned Finnegan about the purpose of probation.

George pointed out that no one from the DOC went to the jail to see Anthony after her first visit. He then asked about how Anthony's probation would differ if served while she was out of jail.

Following Finnegan's testimony, defense attorney Lisabeth Fryer argued that Anthony has served her probation and that Strickland lacked jurisdiction to issue his order for probation.

Perry questioned Fryer about her knowledge of Strickland's original sentencing and handed her a copy of the transcript.

Perry then asked Fryer if the defense was aware that Strickland intended Anthony to serve her probation if and when she was released from jail. Fryer said the defense was aware of that, and that Anthony began serving while in jail, but the burden was not on the defense to address the issue.

"So far, I have not been able to find anything that has dealt with this particular situation the way this particular case is," said Perry.

Perry described the entire issues as a "legal maze."

"You've given me a lot to think about," said Perry.

When asked if he had anything to say, George said Anthony serving probation while in jail defeated the purpose of probation. He said the only thing Anthony did was not commit any infractions while incarcerated.

On Wednesday, Strickland recused himself from the probation issue and Perry took over that case as well. At that time, Perry issued a stay on Strickland's order, meaning Anthony did not have to report to the probation office by Thursday at 10 a.m. as the Department of Corrections had said.

On July 5, Anthony, 25, was found not guilty of all felony charges in Caylee's death. The jury found her guilty of four charges of lying to law enforcement and she was released from the Orange County Jail on July 17.

Since her release, Anthony's whereabouts have remains a mystery, although entertainment website TMZ published photos Wednesday that purport to show Casey Anthony out and about in Columbus, Ohio. 

If Anthony does have to serve probation, she will have certain restrictions. She will not be allowed to have contact with her victim, former best friend Amy Huizenga, and she will have to limit her alcohol consumption. She will also be subject to searches of her home, vehicle and place of employment.

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